Straight and Plumb Columns

Methods for Install

Here are the steps to ensure a straight and plumb column using batter boards and string lines:

  1. Determine the location and spacing of the columns based on the building plans and codes.
  2. Set up batter boards around the perimeter of the building site, making sure they are level and square.
    1. Batter boards are temporary wooden structures. They locate the corners of the building, and act as a reference point for the string lines.
    1. Professional Tip: Use a single 10′ 2×6 strengthened with a perpendicular 2×4.
    1. Professional Tip: Set batter boards as far back as possible. This method prevents misalignment during auguring.
  3. Run string lines between the batter boards to mark the location of the columns. The string lines should be taut and level.
  4. Use a plumb bob or a level to transfer mark for column to footing.
  5. Install the columns in the holes.
    1. Place each column as close a possible to final location before  securing in place.
  6. Secure columns using two turnbuckles. Install turnbuckles perpendicular to each other.
    1. Professional Tip: turnbuckle parallel with stringline installed on farthest face of column.
      1. Prevents altering stringline
    1. Turnbuckles allow finite adjustments.
  7. Adjustment of the column.
    1. Use a sledge or bar to adjust foot of column
    1. Use turnbuckle to adjust the column at the stringline
    1. Use a level to ensure plumb in both directions
      1. Level at the stringline, the top of the columns can differ and can be adjusted during future framing and sheathing options.
    1. Snap the stringline to ensure the column is only breathing on the stringline.
      1. There is a tendency for walls to bow out as installers chase a stringline that is pushed on by other columns
    1. Professional Tip: Take 3 steps back often and analyze the bigger picture, make sure the stringline is correct, quality check measurements, look up and make sure columns are oriented correctly and correct columns are used for the specific location.
      1. Mistakes become problems when they are not caught in time for easy solutions.
  8. After adjustments, install cross bracing.
    1. WYCam uses two stickers about 3’-4’ in length staked perpendicular to each other and secured to the column.
  9. Backfill with required material. Ensure gentle placement of material to prevent movement of column.
  10. Install corner columns first. Then attach the stringlines directly to the corner columns. This allows the removal of batter boards for easier access. The columns provide a more secure location for the stringline during the backfill process.

Final Professional Tip: use laminated columns, not posts for improved straightness

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